A Fife-based national museum dedicated to telling the story of Scotland’s fishing industry has been given a helping hand to stay afloat.
There have been concerns the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther would have to close for good due to Covid-19 restrictions and a sharp fall in visitors numbers throughout 2020.
Despite being shut for almost half a year, however, the museum will be able to weather the storm.
The museum has been awarded £124,000 from the £4 million pot being distributed by Museum Galleries Scotland to help such venues across Scotland. The money was part of the wider £97 million given to the Scottish Government to support the cultural sector.
The cash will need to be used for specified projects, such as building repairs, marketing for next season and essential staffing and Karen Seath, chair of the Scottish Fisheries Museum’s board of trustees said it has been a timely boost.
”It has been a very challenging year for the museum, its staff and volunteers, with closure for five months and restricted opening from August.
“These are unprecedented times and have impacted visitor numbers drastically.
“We are absolutely delighted and very grateful to receive further support from Museum Galleries Scotland.
“This will allow the museum to move forward out of the Covid-19 restriction period and help us develop and deliver our recovery programme for 2021.
“The award from the fund will go towards vital work in supporting the longevity of the Scottish Fisheries Museum, progressing projects to secure our future as a national Scottish visitor attraction, and in preserving the history and documenting the future of the Scottish fishing industry.
“The trustees and I are incredibly proud of the museum staff and volunteers for their continued hard work and enthusiasm. This award is a very welcome boost to all.”
The museum is probably best known for its largest sea-going vessel the Reaper, a herring drifter which was first registered in 1902 and went on to hold the record catch of herring in Shetland in the late 1930s.
Just over six years ago the museum took formal steps to look into the Reaper’s long-term preservation and masterminded a complete refit of its hull between October 2017 and July 2019.
Work is ongoing and it remains one of the museum’s most sought-after attractions.
Lucy Casot, chief executive of Museum Galleries Scotland, said: “As with many museums and galleries, the Scottish Fisheries Museum has faced severe difficulties caused by the pandemic.
“They quickly and innovatively responded to these challenges through expanding their online offering to continue events and activities within their community and to welcome visitors to digitally explore Scotland’s fishing heritage.”